Why Is It So Hard To Say Good-bye?

Girl Asking for Approval

We love our stuff! And when it no longer fits in our garage or basement, we rent out a climate-controlled space to keep it in. Rather than letting go of what we no longer need, we would rather pay a monthly fee to store our extra belongings “in case we need them.” The Self-Storage Association reports that the space available in this country for self-storage is approximately three times the size of Manhattan. This concept doesn’t just apply to our material possessions. We desperately hold onto other stuff as well…whether it’s relationships, jobs, or our youth. Often, we resist change and cling to the familiarity of the past.

This came to light when my friend (and photographer-extraordinaire) Octavia Hunter came to visit and I found out about her latest creation—a visual story of the art of letting go.

“Tell me more,” I said as we sat down for a cup of chai.

“It seems like most people focus on the pain of loss and think that letting go is giving something up.” She went on to explain how she sees letting go as more of a ritual to honor how something has served us, acknowledge that we no longer need it and allow space for new experiences.

“It’s so true,” I replied. “Perspective makes all the difference.”

She then shared a few of her initial photographs. She had managed to capture transformational highlights in each person’s self-awareness journey—at the very moment their courage overcame their fear.

In their pictures, I connected to the resilience of the human spirit. It resonated so deeply that I wanted to support her project and share it with you. Take a moment to watch Octavia’s video. My hope is that it will give you ideas and inspire you.

Letting go is a human experience that transcends culture, race and religion. Why then do we resist it so much? What if we were intentional about letting go rather than fighting it?

The reward of letting go is inner peace and freedom. There are many ways to release what no longer serves you.

The TalkRx Prescription—for Letting Go

If you’re ready to let go (of a behavior, a relationship, a possession, etc.), ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What physical signals arise at the thought of letting go of this? (Close your eyes and tune in to the quality and location of the physical sensations your body is sending)
  2. How has this object, relationship or behavior served you (e.g., protection, brought happiness, met a need)?
  3. What’s the price of continuing to be attached to it?
  4. What emotion(s) arise at the thought of letting it go?
  5. If you did let this go, what would you be creating space for?

Now take a deep breath in and fill your lungs with oxygen. Imagine your breath traveling to the physical space in your body where you feel attachment. Lean into that discomfort with another breath. As you exhale, visualize releasing what no longer serves you. You might picture it dissolving, evaporating, melting or washing away. With your next deep breath, allow any emotion you’re experiencing to move through you. You may need to take a few more deep breaths in order to let the physical and emotional presence of your attachment resolve. Imagine that with each subsequent breath, you are inviting gratitude, healing and spaciousness to fill you up. Become aware of the openness that has been created for new possibilities.

As you begin the process of letting go, be patient with yourself. You may think an issue has resolved, only to find that there is a deeper layer that needs to be healed. Just repeat the same exercise, and you may want to journal or talk it out with a friend or a professional.

Please tell me what you think about Octavia’s letting go project here, Facebook or Twitter—and if you’re feeling courageous, I’d love to hear what you’re ready to let go of!

To inner peace and freedom,

Doctor Neha logo


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